Pakistan observes day of mourning

Pakistan observes day of mourning

A national day of mourning has been declared in Pakistan following the worst air disaster in the country’s history.

All 152 passengers and crew were killed when an Airbus A321 operated by Pakistani airline Airblue crashed on approach to the capital Islamabad yesterday.

The flight was en route from the southern city of Karachi with the cause of the crash still unknown. However, it is believed monsoon conditions and resultant poor visibility may have played a role in the disaster.

The plane – carrying 146 passengers and six crew - was spotted by eyewitnesses flying at an extremely low level before crashing into the Margalla hills north of the city.

In response to the disaster Pakistan prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani declared a day of national mourning, ordering flags across the country to fly at half-mast.

Information minister Qamar Zaman Kaira confirmed some 115 bodies had been recovered from the crash site so far, but bad weather and difficult terrain were continuing to hamper the efforts of Army troops and civilian rescue workers.

He added DNA tests would be needed to identify the bodies, as many were badly burned during the crash. Some 46 bodies have been identified so far.

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Black Box

A flight recorder from the aircraft has been recovered.

A spokesman for the airline said the plane had no known technical issues and the pilots did not send any emergency signals.

Airbus said it would provide technical assistance to the crash investigators.